When game journalism gets lazy

A quick sidenote while I’m waiting for my lunch to heat up…

One of the big problems with "game journalism" has always been its reliance on being able to go "FIRST!" First to get something on Digg; first to get something on N4G; first to make news viral. To that extent, when a site like Videogamer.com gets an awesome interview/feature with SOE’s Ryan Barker, other sites chomp at the bit. First, The Escapist takes the story, regurgitates it with some different words… but misses the point. (Or intentionally misleads so that they can have such a nice viral title?) 

If you read the original Videogamer article, you’ll notice that Ryan talks about an MMO for the Facebook crowd being the thing that will kill WoW; you know, a game friends can easily play and interact with each other in, that doesn’t require real time investment, etc. (And likely incorporates some form of social networking I’d imagine.) But, Escapist goes ahead and writes their story about how Ryan Barker said a Facebook MMO would dwarf World of Warcraft, and do to it what it did to EQ.

Then, not to be outdone, Massively jumped onboard, citing Escapist as the source of the interview (a mixture of both lazy reading and Escapist’s piss poor citation?) and once again makes the focus of the story the fact that Ryan Barker thinks a Facebook MMO will destroy WoW. "Facebook MMO is the Warcraft killer, says EverQuest‘s lead developer" says their title. Except, once again, he didn’t say that.

That doesn’t matter, though, because now due to both Escapist and Massively rushing their own stories based off of someone else’s in order to generate their own traffic — and the likely choice by the Escapist writer to make such a "hot" title even if it wasn’t entirely true — a shit load of people are going to think Ryan Barker is going around screaming "FACEBOOK WILL DESTROY WORLD OF WARCRAFT!" And, since most readers aren’t going to follow the trail of links that leads back to the original, trusting that the writers got the info right in the first place, most people are never going to find out what Ryan was really saying, which is actually something that a lot of people believe, and very interesting.

So remember, people: if you write about games, try to at least double check the source before you post something so sensational. (Unless you did it on purpose to get hits, in which case, that’s a whole other issue.) And if you’re just reading about games, keep in mind that mistakes like this happen quite often, so before you start posting essay length comments about how stupid Ryan Barker is and how Facebook will never have a REAL MMO on it, you may want to read the original story first. At least some readers know how to spot inaccuracies.


  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Myspace
  • Google Buzz
  • Reddit
  • Stumnleupon
  • Delicious
  • Digg
  • Technorati
Author: Brendon Lindsey View all posts by

Leave A Response

You must be logged in to post a comment.